Why COVID-19 Has Made Universal Design More Important for Seniors, Home-Based Care Providers – Home Health Care News

Seniors overwhelmingly prefer to age in place. That preference has only grown following the COVID-19 pandemic and a general shift toward home-based care, making home safety more important than ever.

But for a home to be safe for seniors and caregivers alike, it must adhere to building best practices, including universal design. Broadly, universal design provides a framework for designing products and spaces in order to ensure accessibility and safety for people, regardless of age, physical ability or other factors.

“Universal design emphasizes equitable use and low physical effort,” Rosemarie Rossetti, president of Rossetti Enterprises, told Home Health Care News. “It’s a great way to look at good design right from the beginning, so that if people have a temporary or a permanent disability — if they are short, tall, young or old — it doesn’t matter.”

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As part of her business, Rossetti built the “Universal Design Living Laboratory,” a 3,500 square-foot Columbus, Ohio-based ranch-style national demonstration home and garden, with her husband.

The laboratory, designed by Patrick Manley of Manley Architecture Group, has served as inspiration for the building industry and consumers alike. It has also given home-based care providers a model for what aging in place — bolstered by home design — can look like.

Kendal at Home is one of the many providers to have visited the lab, HHCN previously reported.

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“[It’s] a home designed to be sustainable, so aging in place is
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